On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. CSU’s social media team ruled in favor of posting about it. But our decision to post did not come lightly. Or easily.
Like most other universities, Colorado State has a diverse community of students, faculty and staff. As an institution, we are committed to diversity and inclusion. We knew that the topic of gay marriage would ignite polarizing views and convicted opinions, but isn’t that what social media is about? Getting people to engage?
It was a scary leap, for sure. It took courage to be one of the only major universities brave enough to post about it. But we did it.
Why did it work?
There are two things that made this post successful. It had to be timely. We didn’t jump on a bandwagon later in the day or over the weekend. We posted quickly the morning of the ruling. Our post had to feel organic, not forced. Finding the right visual was paramount. It had to be something real to connect CSU to the SCOTUS ruling. Fortunately, we already had the perfect asset. In 2012 on National Coming Out Day, a beautifully diverse photo was taken on the Oval. The giant trunks of our iconic elms were wrapped in rainbow colors. We knew immediately that this was the right visual. For the text, we decided on a quote from President Obama – one that focused on inclusion and a call to stand strong together – “For all our differences, we are one people – stronger together than we could ever be alone.
What was the response?
As anticipated, our #LoveWins posts sparked a lot of emotion across our social platforms. There was a small dose of negativity, but overall, the responses were overwhelmingly positive. On Facebook, for example, the comment thread was mostly flooded with sentiments of pride and acceptance – but there were also oppositional comments from people unhappy that we quoted President Obama, and from people who thought that our institution should not take a political stance. But the main reason we felt compelled to write about #LoveWins was summed up perfectly by one of our fans in the comment thread on Facebook, and we couldn’t have said it better:
From an analytic standpoint, the impact of our decision to post about #LoveWins turned out to be social gold. We had a lot of success on Instagram and Twitter, but the biggest impact was on Facebook. Our Facebook posts typically reach an average of 50,000 people, garner about 1,000 likes and receive 30 comments. To this day, #LoveWins is our most popular Facebook post. Ever. It reached 521,110 people, and received 32,566 likes, comments and shares.
Would we do it again?
We recognized the historic impact of the SCOTUS decision and wanted to share a message of inclusiveness, acceptance and tolerance for our diverse community here at CSU. Looking back five years from now, we will know that we weren’t silent. In the end, we believe that “Love” wasn’t the only winner on June 26. CSU social media won, too.
To see the live posts, click the following links:
Facebook – Click HERE